A geopark interweaving fragrant grasslands with large calderas
Situated in the central part of Kyushu, Aso-Kuju National Park and the magnificent and varied wonders of nature formed by volcanoes will impress anyone. Nakadake is one of the peaks around Mount Aso, one of the world’s largest caldera volcanoes. Here, visitors can witness smoke and water vapor rising from the crater. Meanwhile, Kuju Flower Park lets you enjoy colorful fields of flowers that change with each season.
The stretch of the Kikuchi Valley belonging to the cities of Aso and Kikuchi is covered in broad-leafed virgin forest trees such as fir, hemlock and zelkova that surround the outer rim of Mount Aso. Also known as the “ideal scenic valley,” the area is also among Japan’s “100 remarkable waters,” “100 best forest bathing spots” and “100 best forest sources of water,” making it a must-see spot. *Reopened to the public on March 24, 2018.
Many other spots in the area also let you enjoy everything nature has to offer, from Mount Tsurumitake which can be enjoyed through all the changing seasons, the Kurodake Nature Forest known for famous waters such as Oike Pond and Kakushi-Mizu (“hidden waters”), the central crater of Nakadake where even regular tourists can peer into the steam bubbling up from the crater, and scenes of grazing Aka-ushi beef cattle, prized for their meat. *Sightseeing at the Nakadake crater area reopened on February 28, 2018.
Learn about everything from area history to food from an expert geoguide
Making use of a geoguide with expert knowledge is a great way to gain a proper grasp of the area in a short period of time.
Starting from 1.5 hours in length, geo-tourism courses let you experience the geosite in a casual way and cover everything from the impact major Mount Aso eruptions have had on Japan to the lifestyle, food and culture of the surrounding region.
Fully enjoy the gifts of volcanic geology and hot spring tourism
In addition to the Jigoku Hot Spring and Tarutama Hot Spring — each of which draw from different sources while being strongly affected by the Mt. Aso volcano — Aso-Kuju National Park is also home to the Uchinomaki Hot Spring comprising approximately 80 wellsprings in the rural area inside the caldera, making it a popular tourist destination. *Note that some hot springs are still off-limits due to the 2016 Kumamoto earthquakes.
If you are looking to tour different hot springs, the area also offers easy access to the hot spring region that includes the Kurokawa Onsen in Minamioguni Onsen Village, where you can enjoy touring open-air hot spring baths, the Beppu Hot Spring, which boasts one of the largest numbers of wellsprings and hot water volumes in Japan, and the Yufuin Hot Spring, which also has one of Japan’s largest hot spring yields.
Take a trip to Aso-Kuju National Park to enjoy the diverse nature and wildlife of the changing seasons and the hot spring culture of Japan.